Friends, all is right with the world . . . just finished opening Christmas presents with Brandon. He is home and working on readjusting to life outside the hospital. He is very weak and still tires very easily, but HE IS HOME! It might sound a little crazy, but after the roller coaster of the past two weeks, it is so comforting to be just sitting and being peaceful and chatting and laughing with Brandon. Just letting the calm wash over me . . . Thank you so much for all your love, prayers, and support over the past two weeks. I don’t know that we could have done it without you! Thank You!!!
Archive for December, 2011
Just got home from the hospital and visiting Brandon. He is doing OK, but he will not be able to come home in time for Christmas. I had a conversation tonight with Brandon’s nurse, and the chief problem right now is Brandon’s oxygen levels. Normally, O2 levels are around 98 – 100. Brandon is nowhere near that currently. He is maintaining an O2 in the mid 90’s, but needs supplemental oxygen to keep it there. When he is up and active, his levels drop even further, down below 90, even with the oxygen. Until he is at a place where he is at 95 or better, without needing any oxygen, he will not be able to come home. He has some breathing exercises he is doing to help strengthen his lungs and help them expand and take in more air, and he is getting breathing treatments several times a day, but, big picture, without enough oxygen in the bloodstream, there are a lot bigger problems that could occur systemically. So, until he no longer needs the oxygen, he will have to stay in the hospital.
On a separate note, I think he is just now beginning to wrap his head around what has happened in the past two weeks, and what the long-term effects of this ordeal might be. The idea of being physically challenged by a body that could betray him at any time is a little daunting, and he is having a little difficulty picturing where he is going from here. He wants more than anything to be out of the hospital, but feels a bit lost as to how his life is going to change when that happens. Just like coming off life support, it is going to be a matter of baby steps . . . .
Until he is able to come home, cards, phone calls, & visits are welcome. E-cards can be sent using the link below. Address them to C. Brandon Forbis, room 5120. The phone number for his room is 655-4588 or you can call his cell phone. Visiting hours are from 11 – 8 daily, but until he gets a little stronger, we would ask that visitors limit their visits to 30 minutes. Thank you again for all your prayers! They are working! Keep them coming!
Well, we’re moving on up . . . to the 5th floor! Just got a call from the hospital and Brandon is being transferred out of ICU up to the 5th floor. It is sort of a step-down unit – he will still be remotely monitored at the nurse’s station for heart and oxygen, etc., but with a little less one-on-one attention. His new room number is 5120 and it is still in the same building, just one floor up. From the sound of it, he may be sharing a room, so we are going to have to keep the partying to a minimum. He is still getting very tired very easily, so I told him to take a nap as soon as he got settled in his new digs. Hopefully, we are still on target to come home on Saturday . . .
Good evening, Brandon watchers! Sorry it took so long for me to post tonight. I was at the hospital this afternoon and evening, and then ran into some minor computer problems when I got home, so this is the first opportunity I have had to give you an update.
Brandon has been off the ventilator since Tuesday afternoon. He had the swallow evaluation done this morning (all is well with that), and was given permission to eat or drink whatever he wants, although his appetite is still not very good. Tonight for dinner, he ate less than 1/2 of his food before he decided he was done with it. His throat is still somewhat tender, and so it is a bit uncomfortable to swallow solid food. He seemed to do OK with his mashed potatoes, but the sandwich was a bit much.
Other bits of progress: this morning he had his last catheter removed, and so now he is down to the PICC line being the only invasive connector left. They will probably leave that in until he is ready to go home, as it makes giving all his IV meds very easy. He was able to graduate from the oxygen mask to the nasal cannula, but with the cannula on, his O2 is a little lower than it is with the mask, so they are keeping an eye on his levels. His O2 drops rather dramatically whenever he is more active – anything from shifting to a sitting-on-the-edge-of-the-bed
Prognosis at this point is very good. If he continues to improve as he has, there is still a good chance he would be able to be home in time for Christmas. Whether that means Saturday or Sunday, we are still not sure and will not have a better approximation until after they move him to the medical floor. One of the nurses said yesterday that, once he is transferred out of ICU, he will probably need a couple more days in the hospital before they will let him come home, and then it will be with instructions to take it easy for a while longer, so even if he is home in time, I am thinking a quiet, laid-back Christmas is in order.
I will be heading back up to the hospital tomorrow, late morning. Again, if anyone would like to come by, just touch base to see how he is faring and where we are. He is loving all the messages of good will and the visits from family & friends, so don’t be afraid to drop by. Just please remember that he is still recovering, so we will ask you to keep visits on the shorter side! Thank you, again for all your prayers and words of encouragement!
HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!
(Please read the entire post if you are interested in visiting.)
Brandon was taken off the vent this afternoon and is making progress by leaps and bounds. As of 7:00 tonight, no vent, no radial artery line, no central line (although he still has the PICC line in and will have that for a while), no solid waste catheter, no antibiotics (he gets treatment meds by injection through the PICC line), no pain med IV (he is still getting occasional injections of pain med), and no NG tube! He is still receiving oxygen through a mask, although the nurse said tonight that if he keeps improving, by tomorrow he may be able to graduate to a nasal cannula for his oxygen, which will make talking way easier. He is still a little groggy and wears out very easily, especially after he gets his pain meds, but we will take it!
Right now, Brandon cannot have anything to eat or drink. Hospital protocol says that anyone who has been intubated for more than 48 hours must pass a swallowing evaluation before they can resume eating and drinking, and they will not perform the evaluation until at least 24 hours after the removal of the vent tube (to allow the throat to rest and recuperate). Once he passes that, he will be on an unrestricted diet and can have anything he wants, but they will probably start him off with soft food first, just to go easy on the throat.
Looking forward, once staff determines that Brandon’s condition no longer requires the level of treatment provided in the ICU, they will relocate him to either the intermediate (step-down) unit, or possibly just a regular medical unit, and that could be as soon as tomorrow afternoon (once he has had the swallow eval). After he is moved, he is going to require some minimal physical therapy, just because he hasn’t been on his feet for over a week, but once they have him disconnected from everything and any further treatments can be managed at home, and he is able to be up walking around, it will be HOMEWARD BOUND! Maybe even in time for Christmas!
Anyway, if you are planning on visiting in the next couple of days, please be sure to touch base with a family member to find out for sure what room Brandon is in and how he is faring as far as receiving company. Also, once he is in a regular room, he can get flowers, food, & gifts brought or sent to the room. E-cards sent through the hospital system can be addressed to C. Brandon Forbis with no room number, and as long as he is a patient, he will get them no matter where he is. Thank you for your continued prayers! Miracles do happen!